In-form Seattle Sounders go in search of five wins on the bounce on Sunday afternoon at Lumen Field, but can the Portland Timbers stop them? Unlike Seattle, the visitors are without a win in three matches, one of which was against Sunday’s hosts.
For the third time this season, these two old foes lock horns, and it is Portland who are looking for revenge after suffering defeat at home not once, but twice. In May, Seattle walked away from Providence Park with a 1-2 victory, while they scored six on route to winning at that venue just two weeks ago.
Seattle Sounders – Hosts in hot form
After a bit of a blip not that long ago, the Sounders have turned things around nicely, so much so that they’re now back at the top of the Western Conference. Having won each of their last four in Major League Soccer, Sunday’s hosts will be feeling upbeat ahead of their third showdown with the Timbers, who they recently beat with consummate ease.
Not only have Brian Schmetzer’s men been in great form of late, but they’ve been in hot form at home most of the season. Unsurprisingly, the conference leaders have the best home record in the west, scoring 18 and conceding nine on route to picking up 19 points at Lumen Field.
Expected Line-Up: Cleveland – Gomez, Arreaga, O’Neill – Smith, Paulo, Rowe, Roldan – Roldan, Montero, Ruidiaz.
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Portland Timbers – Short Summary
The Timbers want to be up there with Seattle challenging for the Western Conference, but at present there’s very little danger of that happening. Three games without a win has seen Portland slip to 8th in the standings, while they’re only five points clear of bottom club Houston Dynamo.
Much of the Timbers struggle this term stems from a lack of form away from the comforts of home. On the road, they’ve lost seven out of ten, winning just one of the other three. And much of their lack of away-day success can be attributed to a lack of defensive solidity. 24 goals conceded in 10 road games simply isn’t good enough. No team in the west has shipped more away goals than the Timbers.
Expected Line-Up: Clark – Bravo, Zuparic, Mabiala, Galland – Chara, Blanco, Williamson – Chara, Valeri, Mora.
Expert Pick #1 – Seattle Sounders to Win & Over 1.5 Goals @+3300
This really is a gilt-edged opportunity for the hosts to pick up another three points in their quest for Western Conference dominance. They’ve made relatively light work of beating the Timbers on two occasions this season and there’s little about the form of either (in their respective home and away games) to suggest that a third win for the Sounders will be avoided.
At Lumen Field, Seattle have a healthy expected goal difference of +0.65, while the visitors boast a terrible xG difference of -0.84 on the road, while they’ve surrendered an average of 2.4 goals on their travels.
Expert Pick #2 – Seattle to Score Over 2.5 Goals @+200
As an alternative betting option, a small play on the hosts running riot offensively, much as they did when they faced Portland just a fortnight ago, catches the eye. For starters, they’re averaging 2.35 expected goals per 90 against the Timbers this season, and that’s away from home.
In addition, we’ve already seen that the Sounders have the offensive quality to really punish a Portland defence that ships no shortage of travelling goals. On five occasions this season, Giovanni Savarese’s men have conceded three or more on the road.
Expert Pick #3 – Fredy Montero to Score @+175
It’s been a pretty good season for Seattle offensive player Fredy Montero, who has notched six goals in 17 matches, and against a weak Portland rear-guard, the Colombian looks a reasonable bet to bag again. The 34-year-old veteran has scored four in his last four appearances, including twice against Portland earlier this month. Add in that he averages 0.32 expected goals per 90, as well as 2.79 shots and those looking for a player prop will be hard pushed to find a better option at the current odds.
It looks very much as though the only way is up for this in-form Sounders side, that has already made light work of beating the Portland Timbers this season. On their own patch, against weak travellers, the hosts are fancied to make it three from three against the West Conference rivals.